Best Agile Project Management Tools for 2021 | CIO Insight

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Agile project management has grown in popularity for software development teams globally, but also for other businesses that balance multiple projects and deadlines. 

With the growing number of agile adopters, many business technology companies have developed agile project management tools, or software that aids in iterative communication, collaboration, deadline management, and deployment. 

Because agile project management tools can include any combination of the agile features included in this article, it’s difficult for prospective customers to research their options and find the solution that best fits their needs. 

To guide your decision-making process, read on for the best tools in the project management sphere and the areas in which each tool outshines its competitors.

More on this topic: COVID’s Impact on Agile Project Management 

Top Agile Project Management Tools for Your Business

What Are Agile Project Management Tools?

Agile project management is a popular project management methodology in the specialist-client relationship that focuses on frequent iterations of project deliverables, constant and open communication, and openness to project scope changes and fixes over time. Agile PM tools are software platforms that assist the team in creating and delivering on project goals with an agile approach.

These tools are designed to help the project team collaborate with an external client or an internal ops team. Although agile project management platforms are often used for communication and timeline updates, collaborative creation frequently happens on them, too.

Agile vs. Waterfall Methods: Agile vs. Waterfall: Differences in Software Development Methodologies

Top Agile Project Management Tools

Wrike Wrike LogoWrike Logo

Best for Gantt Charts, Timelines, and Spreadsheets

Wrike is an agile collaboration tool that provides basic project templates, reporting, communication integrations, and other key project management tools. Its user interface focuses less on design elements and more on diverse features and views. Users are most often drawn to the detailed Gantt chart and timeline offerings that go beyond the product features of most similar tools.

Its subscription packages increase in price quickly. However, Wrike offers a fairly robust free version that could be a good fit for teams that don’t require certain advanced features like shareable dashboards and additional integrations.

Features:

  • Live activity stream and real-time updates across global, project, and task levels
  • Interactive board, spreadsheet, and timeline views
  • Cloud storage and productivity integrations
  • Enterprise security features, such as SSO and 2FA
  • Custom workflows and user groups

Asana Asana LogoAsana Logo

Best for Built-in Communication

Asana is a leading collaboration platform that excels in setting and communicating expectations across agile teams. The embedded messaging system and process management—through rules, forms, templates, and approvals—help users at all levels to update others on their progress. 

Several of the other agile collaboration tools on this list integrate with external messaging platforms like Slack, but with Asana, messaging and communication are natively built into the software. Note that Asana has a Slack integration, though.

Although Asana does offer a free version of its software, the features within that package are limited and do not include tools like reporting, admin console, or private team management.

Features:

  • Unlimited projects, tasks, messages, and activity logs
  • Unlimited file storage space
  • List, board, and calendar view options for project and deadline management
  • Quality assurance through goal setting, a custom rules builder, and custom fields locks
  • Over 100 free integrations available

monday.com monday.com logomonday.com logo

Best for Friendly UX

monday.com is a collaboration platform that offers several similar features to competitors like Wrike and Asana, but its focus on simplified user experiences sets it apart. The dashboard and data viewpoints are flexible, but more important than that, monday.com offers dozens of productivity templates that can be customized and combined to fit specific projects. Existing templates limit coding requirements and give newer developers and non-developer teammates alike a starting point for project development.

Although monday.com is primarily designed for project management in agile groups, the free tier is a strong productivity suite for individual users that simply need a tool to help them better manage personal deadlines, data, and projects.

Features:

  • Over 200 productivity templates included
  • Timeline, Gantt, chart, and calendar views available
  • Automation actions available in standard, pro, and enterprise tiers
  • Integrations available in standard, pro, and enterprise tiers
  • Advanced security and governance features available in enterprise package, including GDPR and HIPAA

Jira Software Atlassian Jira LogoAtlassian Jira Logo

Best for Integrations

Most agile software platforms include a few dozen integration opportunities, but Jira was actually designed with integration as a core offering. Whereas most products in the agile PM software market offer 100 to 200 integrations, the Atlassian Marketplace for Jira includes over 3,000 integration choices.

Parent company, Atlassian, also extends Atlassian Open DevOps to Jira Software customers. This solution is preconfigured to include a combination of the company’s top products and third-party integrations as an out-of-the-box solution for teams that opt in.

Jira also offers one of the strongest free package versions, including features like backlogs, reporting, customizable workflows, integrations, automation, roadmaps, dependency management, and basic security — all at no additional cost.

Features:

  • Admin controls, such as domain verification, account capture, and session duration management
  • Long-term project planning through roadmaps
  • Reporting and customizable workflows
  • Security features, such as SSO, password policies, encryption, mobile device management, and disaster recovery
  • Capacity planning and project archiving in premium and enterprise packages

Targetprocess Targetprocess LogoTargetprocess Logo

Best for DevOps Teams

Targetprocess can be used in several different agile scenarios, but it’s actually best suited for internal software development or project management, most commonly known as DevOps. The idea behind Targetprocess and similar DevOps tools is to make information easily accessible to all users, regardless of account access level. Further, this tool enables communicating all data and project changes quickly and effectively to stakeholders across departments. 

One of Targetprocess’s core offerings is product management, or several features that ensure Targetprocess users and non-users within the same company receive relevant, timely information on project launches. These features include backlog prioritization and grooming, release planning and estimation, and service desk and ticketing management.

Targetprocess itself is limited in some areas, such as analytics and templates, but its two-way integrations and partnerships with platforms like Azure DevOps and Atlassian Jira Software help to fill in the gaps.

Features:

  • Offers the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) solutions to customers
  • Two-way Integration with tools like Azure DevOps and Atlassian Jira Software
  • Service Desk app to collect feedback and suggestions from stakeholders without user accounts
  • 24/7 security monitoring and GDPR compliance-driven encryption
  • Customizable fields, rules, practices, rich domains, and mashups

ClickUp ClickUp LogoClickUp Logo

Best for Buyers on a Budget

ClickUp has quickly proven itself a strong solution for businesses that don’t want or can’t make a huge investment in additional software. The free version of ClickUp is more comprehensive than most free agile project management platforms, including features like unlimited users, unlimited tasks, two-factor authentication (2FA), 24/7 support, and 100mb of storage space. 

ClickUp’s unlimited, business, and enterprise tiers offer a few additional features, particularly in the realms of security, advanced user management, and integrations. But the free package offers unlimited users, so even larger enterprises can test this software without investing in dozens of seats. 

The software has also saved some users money because it combines the features of other product types into one platform. Some products it has been known to replace for customers include Trello, Airtable, Todoist, Microsoft Excel,…

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Best Agile Project Management Tools for 2021 | CIO Insight